(Premium) Gist of Kurukshetra Magazine: December 2012

Premium - Gist of Kurukshetra Magazine: December 2012


1. NORTH EAST AT A GLANCE (Free Available)



4. ECO TOURISM (Only For Premium Members)




The North Eastern (NE) States, occupy about 8% of the total geographical area of the Country and account for about 4% of the country’s total population.

Due to its peculiar physical, economic and socio-cultural characteristics, the economy of the North East has a distinctive identify. Despite its rich natural endowments, this region represents one of the least developed regions of the country. In view of being a strategically and geopolitically sensitive frontier, Government of India is emphasizing or bringing the gaps in infrastructure, communication, health, education and other integral areas  of development of the region with the rest of the country.

The North Eastern region is ethnically distinct from the rest of India. Linguistically the region is distinguished by a preponderance of Tibeto-Burman languages. The most marked characteristic feature of this region is the low density of population in all areas other than Assam and Tripura. The low densities in many parts of the region are attributable to the nature of the terrain. North and plays a crucial role in strategic and economic partnership.

Approximately 4500 km of boundary is shared with the neighbouring countries viz. Nepal, China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The problems including insurgency, unemployment, drug addiction, and lack of infrastructure are pulling the states into the backwardness. Since the beginning of the economic liberalization in the 1990s, various studies have shown that this region in lagging behind the others in terms of development.

Various organization, programmes, group were set up to boost the development of the region. The North Eastern Council (NEC) was constituted in 1971 as the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the region, Hill Area Development Programme (HADP) in 1974, Task Force for study of Eco-development in the Himalayan region in 1981 and an Expert Group on National Policy for Integrated Development in the Himalayas in 1992 were set up by the Planning Commission. The North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFI) was incorporated on August 9, 1995 and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER) was set up in September 2001.

It is recognized recognition among policy makers that the main stumbling block for economic development of the Northeastern region in the disadvantageous geographical location. The coming of globalization propagates
deterritorialisation and a borderless world which  is often associated with economic integration. The 98 percent of its borders shared with China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal, the Northeast India has better scope for development in the era of globalization. As a result, a new policy developed among intellectuals and politicians that one direction the Northeastern region must be looking to as a new way of development lies with political integration with the rest of Asia, with East and Southeast Asia in particular as the policy of economic integration. With the development of this new policy the Government of India directed its ‘Look East Policy’, towards developing the Northeastern region. This policy is reflected in the Year End Review 2004 of the Ministry of External Affairs, which stated that: “India’s Look East Policy has now been given a new dimension by the UPA Government. India is now looking towards a partnership with the ASSEAN countries, both within BIMSTEC and the India- ASSEAN Summit dialogue as integrally linked to economic and security interests, particularly for India’s East and North East Region.”

The North East states conceal some interesting paradoxes. Some of them have excellent demographic characteristics like a high literacy rate and consequent access to education. Yet at the same time they all suffer from high infant mortality as hospital care for the mother and child are few and far between. The region has splendid swathes of forests harbouring massive varieties of fauna and flora. Yet development of the states could mean cutting into those regions, as there are few alternatives to not do so.

The North-Eastern Region of India is an untapped reservoir of potential for development of horticulture which can contribute in a big way to boost the horticulture growth in the country. This region is abounding in crops like Banana, Pineapple, Cashew, Citrus, Ginger and Onions which have high commercial value. Passion fruit cultivation is of special importance to Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Sikkim which has good potential for exports. Kiwifruit is another fruit and it is being cultivated in Arunachal Pradesh in some sizable area but other states like Sikkim, Meghalaya, and hills of Manipur have vast potential for successful cultivation of kiwifruits. High growth in horticulture in the region can highly contribute to generation of gainful and permanent employment for the people of the region. There has been 70 percent growth in horticultural sector in the region which triggered economic growth among the people. Central Government has declared 2012 as the year of horticulture sector and to give it a renewed thrust. Hence, Rs. 1850 crore have been allocated for implementation of National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and Horticulture Mission on North East and Himalaya States (HMNEH) in 2012-13.

Hygiene and Health:

Lack of adequate sanitation is a pressing challenge in both rural and urban India. Sanitation-related diseases take a heavy toll of lives, especially children’s lives, loss of productivity and income. Inadequate sanitation leads to indignity of open defecation especially for women and young girls. Despite the fact that India has impressive development indicator like growth of over 8 percent, a dynamic industry and a vibrant democratic governance system, one third of its population has to still bear the shame defecating in the open. The challenge that India, with its large population, size & different hydrogeological regions faces in the area of sanitation is unique and unparalleled in the world. The Development of Drinking Water and Sanitation,

Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India has taken on this enormous challenge by pledging to provide sanitation facilities in all rural areas through its flagship programme “Total Sanitation Campaign” (TSC). TSC has been successful in changing the rural sanitation coverage from a mere 21 percent as per 2001 Census to 67 percent of households in the current year with over 22,618 PRIs becoming open defecation free “Nirmal Grams”.

Total Sanitation Campaign:

The Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) launched in 2003-04 has been one of the flagship programs of the Government. The annual budgetary support has been gradually increased from Rs. 202 crore in 2003-04 to Rs. 1500 crore in 2011-12. The approved central outlay for the TSC in the Eleventh plan (2007-12) was of Rs. 7816 crore. As on 28 December 2011, TSC projects approved with a total outlay of Rs. 22, 022 crore (with a 65.5 percent Central Government share of Rs. 14, 425 crore) being implemented in 607 rural districts. The TSC is implemented as a community led and people- entric approach to generate effective demand for sanitation facilities by creating awareness among village communities, educating them and providing all required information that can help them avail Government’s subsidy and technical services under the TSC program. From June 1, 2011, to motivate the community towards creating sustainable sanitation facilities and their continued usage, the financial incentive in the form of subsidy for individual household latrines for BPL families has been raised from Rs. 2200 to Rs. 3200 and for hilly and difficult areas from Rs. 2700 to Rs. 3200 and for hilly and difficult areas from Rs. 2700 to Rs. 3700. TSC is an inclusive program and seeks active participation of all sections of society including women, SCs and STs. TSC has special components to encourage women and adolescent girls to actively participate in the sanitation program. The Nirmal Gram Puruskar incentive scheme has been launched to encourage Panchayati Raj Institutions to attain a 100% open defecation-free environment. Under the scheme a total of 25,145 Gram Panchayats, 166 intermediate Panchayats and 10 district Panchayats have received the award in the last six years. Sikkim has become the first State to receive the award. Within a decade all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats are proposed to be converted into Nirman Gram Panchayats. Thethrust is not just to construct toilets, but to ensure their continued use keeping clean and maintaining properly which, of course, calls for behavioral change. TSC has resulted in the construction of 7.07 Crore Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) 10.33 lakh school toilets, 3,47,077 Anganwadi Toilets, 19,509 community sanitary complexes with a total project outlay of Rs. 17,885 Crore. The Department has set the target to provide universal toilet coverage in rural areas by 2015.